As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper Book Review

Author Information

Phil Stamper grew up in a rural village near Dayton, Ohio. He has a B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Publishing with Creative Writing. And, unsurprisingly, a lot of student debt. He works for a major book publisher in New York City and lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their dog.

THE GRAVITY OF US is his first novel, but he’s no stranger to writing. His self-insert Legend of Zelda fanfiction came with a disclaimer from the 14-year old author: “Please if you write a review don’t criticize my work.” He has since become more open to critique… sort of.

Book Description

Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he’s excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.

From the outside, Marty’s life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he’s made new friends, he’s getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he’s even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can’t keep up the facade. He hasn’t spoken to his parents since he arrived, he’s tearing through his meager savings, his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse, and he hasn’t even come close to landing the job of his dreams. Will Marty be able to find a place that feels like home?

You can get this book at:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indigo ~ IndieBound ~ Book Depository

Review

Thank you to netgalley for an advanced copy of the book in exchange for my review.

Thoughts and Themes: I knew that I had to read this one as soon as I saw that Phil Stamper came out with a new book since I really enjoyed The Gravity of Us. I winded up listening to this story on audiobook while following along with the e-book. I found that the audiobook of this story was great to listen to and easy to follow. This is one that I had to sit on before writing the review because there was so many different things going on in the story that I wanted to touch on.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was the anxiety representation, I rarely get to read books that show anxiety as part of the story but not the center of it. I really liked that Marty’s personality isn’t just his anxiety but that is a large part of his life. I liked getting to see how anxiety manifests itself in his daily life and how it contributed to his ability to travel.

Something else that I enjoyed about this book but also found hard to read was Marty’s parents homophobia and religious bigotry. I thought that this was done well and I know we would love to see them grow but I thought it was very real to include that they don’t grow. I liked that this book shows that sometimes people don’t change, and their views stay static.

Something that was unexpected and I had a hard time with was that Marty begins to develop body image issues and it leads to disordered eating. While I do think this is important to include and how it is something that needs to be brought up especially with the expectations for body types within the gay community, I do wish there had been some sort of warning.

One of the big things in this book that I really wanted to touch on was the forced outing that was done by Marty’s friend, Megan. I thought this was an important part of this story to include because of the impact it had on him. I thought it was well done because you get to see what Marty’s fears and concerns are about being out back home amongst people other than his close friends and family.

Characters: Through this story you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with Marty. I really enjoyed each of the characters that you get to meet throughout the interactions that Marty hash them.

I thought it was great to meet so many different characters and also get a chance to see how Marty’s relationship with each person differed. I thought it was great getting to see the contrast between Marty’s new friends and his old friends and how he changes through the development of these friendships.

I also really liked getting to see the contrast between the relationship that Marty has with his parents and his family in London. I thought it was great to see how either family reacted to his coming out and the difference that makes in his life. I really liked getting to know a little bit about the aunt and how she felt about the whole ordeal with Marty’s parents and him coming out. I thought it was important to show that he had some people who supported him regardless of his parent’s differing opinion.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through our main character, Marty’s perspective. The story goes back and forth between the present time and some diary entries that are a part of an assignment that Marty had to complete last summer.

As I listened to the audiobook, I also want to comment on the narrator of the story. The narrator does a great job with this story and is easy to listen to. I like the pace that this story keeps as it isn’t too quick but also not too slow. It’s something that you could listen to in a day while getting other things done.

1 thought on “As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper Book Review

  1. Pingback: March 2021 Wrap Up | Unconventional_Quirky_Bibliophile

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